The Social Security increase for 2023 is welcome news for seniors, but it also means an increase in scam attempts.  Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income payments increased 8.7% this year, thanks to an annual cost-of-living adjustment required by law.  That translates into a $146 boost in the average monthly retirement benefit.  The AARP’s Sean Voskuhl says this is the biggest cost-of-living jump since 1981, and has resulted in robocalls, letters and much more.


“Scammers who impersonate Social Security Administration officials are adapting their pitches to the 8.7% increase, claiming targets have to pay a fee or provide personal or financial data to get their bigger benefits. They are trying to trick beneficiaries into providing personally identifiable information. However, the increase is automatic, and recipients don’t need to take any action to receive it.”


What should you do if you, or someone you love has been contacted by a scammer?


 “Scammers seek to cause a strong emotional response," Voskuhl said.  "So, stop and think. Better yet, hang up or ignore the message. Don’t transfer money, be skeptical, and don’t provide personal or financial data, even if the caller has some of your information already. Block unwanted calls and text messages, and don’t click on links or attachments in texts or email from unfamiliar senders.” 


Here are nine tell-tale signs of a scam, according to AARP: 

A large-scale, multifaceted effort by the government to spread the word about these scammers — and stop them — includes the watchdog office’s warnings about the nine tell-tale signs of a Social Security scam. If an impostor reaches out in a call, text, email, letter or social media post, you can be sure it’s a scam if he: 

  1. Threatens to suspend your Social Security number
  2. Warns of arrest or other legal action
  3. Demands or requests immediate payment
  4. Requires payment by gift card, prepaid debit card, internet currency or by mailing cash
  5. Pressures you to disclose personal information
  6. Requests secrecy
  7. Threatens to seize your bank account
  8. Promises to increase your Social Security benefit
  9. Tries to gain your trust by providing fake “documentation,” false “evidence,” or even the name of a bona fide government official


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